Effective Business Writing
Course Objectives
> Review the writing process.
> Assess common grammar and style problem areas.
> Enable student to write more efficiently and powerfully.
> Review the effective use of email and PowerPoint.
2
Table of Contents
Topic
Page
Module 1: Class Overview and Introduction
5
Module 2: Prepare to Write
8
Module 3.1: Compose Your Document
23
Module 3.2: Compose Your Document - Mechanics
32
Module 3.3: Compose Your Document - Wordiness
61
Module 3.4: Compose Your Document - Tools
73
Module 4: Communicate Effectively
85
3
Reflection Questions
> What issues do you find with others’ writing?
> What concerns do you have with your own writing?
> What are troubles you have when writing?
> How does business writing differ from academic writing?
4
The Writing Process
> Prepare to Write
» Plan Your Document
» Generate Ideas
» Organize Your Information
> Compose Your Document
» Draft
» Revise
» Refine
5
> PLAN YOUR DOCUMENT
> GENERATE IDEAS
> ORGANIZE YOUR
INFORMATION
The Writing Process
PREPARE TO
WRITE
6
Plan Your Document
> Message
> Audience
> Purpose
7
Message
> What is the main topic to convey in your document?
» Focus on one main topic.
> What is the level of detail needed to communicate this
topic?
» This will help determine the format and program you will use.
8
Understand Your Audience
> What does the audience already know about the topic?
> How does the audience feel about the topic?
> How does the audience feel about you, your team,
and/or your organization?
> Knowing your audience
helps determine:
» Format
» Organization
» Flow of thought
9
The Hidden Audience
> Who could read this document?
> Is this document ready for infinite distribution?
> Should this document be written?
10
Purpose
> What do you want to accomplish with the document?
» Does a decision need to be made?
» Do you want action?
» Are you trying to persuade the audience?
» Is this to inform others of information you collected?
> What is the end result/goal of your document?
11
Understand Your Audience Exercise
You are a member of a project team.
1. Review a sample project document of your choice.
2. Read the descriptions for Reader A and Reader B.
3. How would you write for different audiences? What is
the purpose of each situation?
Reader A (George)
• What do you want to get from George?
• What approach should you take with George?
Reader B (Marie)
• How is Marie related to this?
• What do you want to get from Marie?
• How would you approach her?
12
> PLAN YOUR DOCUMENT
> GENERATE IDEAS
> ORGANIZE YOUR
INFORMATION
The Writing Process
PREPARE TO
WRITE
13
Brainstorming Methods
Reading and Writing Method
Graphic Method
Research
Draw an idea diagram
Take notes
Doodle
Outline
Freewrite
Spoken Method
Group Method
Speak aloud
Discuss with colleagues, friends
Ask questions reader might ask
Brainstorm with colleagues
Imagine conversation with reader
Record on tape or write
14
> PLAN YOUR DOCUMENT
> GENERATE IDEAS
> ORGANIZE YOUR
INFORMATION
The Writing Process
PREPARE TO
WRITE
15
Three Essential Components
Introduction
Hook
Key Message
Purpose
Body
Background and Details
Major and Minor Points
Organized Ideas
Conclusion
Summarize
Restate Key Message
Request Action
16
Organizing Your Information
> Sample Methods of Organization:
» Sequence
» Advantages and Disadvantages
» Priority
» Cause and Effect
» Comparison and Contrast
» Problem and Solution
» Journalism
» Analysis
» Case Study
» Spatial
17
Organizational Patterns: Documentation
> For the detail-oriented
» Introduction > Body > Conclusions > Recommendations > Close
> For the action-oriented
» Introduction > Conclusions > Recommendations > Body > Close
> To give recommendations
» Introduction > Recommendations > Conclusions > Body > Close
> To catch the reader’s attention
» Introduction > Conclusions > Body > Recommendations > Close
18
Organizational Patterns: Persuasion
Reader’s Question:
Persuasive Pattern:
1. Why should I read this?
Global Benefit
2. What are you suggesting?
Ideas & Features
3. What’s in it for me?
Specific Benefits
4. How do you know?
Rationale
5. Let me make sure I understand.
Summary
19
> DRAFT
> REVISE
> REFINE
The Writing Process
COMPOSE
YOUR
DOCUMENT
20
Compose Your Document
> Decide what information to include or exclude.
> Organize your information.
» Pre-determined organization
» Flexible organization
Focus on content, not mechanics.
21
> DRAFT
> REVISE
> REFINE
The Writing Process
COMPOSE
YOUR
DOCUMENT
22
Revise Your Document
> Is the message stated clearly?
> Is the document appropriate for its audience?
> Does the document achieve its purpose?
> Is the document well-organized?
> Tips:
» Put your document aside for a few hours (or days) before revising
it. This helps you look at it with fresh eyes.
» Print your document. Some problems are difficult to identify on a
computer screen.
23
> DRAFT
> REVISE
> REFINE
The Writing Process
COMPOSE
YOUR
DOCUMENT
24
Refine Your Document
> Confirm factual accuracy.
> Enforce stylistic consistency.
> Correct mechanical errors.
> Reduce wordiness.
> Utilize appropriate tools.
25
Confirm Factual Accuracy
Figures
Confirm the accuracy of figures by
checking them against your
original source.
Calculations
Other Facts
Confirm the accuracy of
calculations by performing them
at least twice. Pay attention to
decimals, rounding, and
percentages.
Confirm the accuracy of other
facts by checking reliable
records and sources.
26
Enforce Stylistic Consistency
> Utilize a writing style guide.
» The Chicago Manual of Style
» American Psychological Association
» The Associated Press Stylebook
> Create a document style sheet (for documents longer
than 2 pages).
Capitalization, hyphenation, abbreviation,
and use of italics and boldface
27
The Chicago Manual of Style
28
Document Style Sheet Example
Leeds: Style Sheet
Term
Use
billing
Always lower case except in titles
bottom up
Always hyphenate the adjective
CO
Only use the full term: "Change Order"
deliverable based fees
Recommend always using "deliverable-based fee"
fixed fee
Always lower case except in titles
Use fixed-fee pricing
gross margin
Always lower case except in titles
Leeds Corporation
Always Leeds
IDS
First instance, "Integrated Delivery Strategy (IDS);" acronym
only thereafter
inspiration center
Always capitalized: Inspiration Center
module
Always lower case except in titles
MVPs
First instance: "Managing Vice Presidents (MVPs);" acronym
only thereafter
OIC
First instance: "Officer in Charge (OIC);" acronym only
thereafter
29
Correct Mechanical Errors
> Read carefully.
> Perform word processor spelling and grammar checks.
> Use a checklist of common mechanical errors.
> Refer to a dictionary, writing style guide, etc.
Spelling, usage, grammar, and
punctuation
30
Mechanics: Subject-Verb Agreement
> Subject = a noun or noun phrase performing the action
or being in the state expressed by the verb
> Verb = a word or group of words showing the action or
state of being
» State of being: am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been
31
Mechanics: Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise
1. Each of the reports (contains/contain) useful
information.
2. Neither the Smith twins nor Samantha (was/were)
informed of the changes made in the club bylaws.
3. Her purse, along with her checkbook and all her credit
cards (was/were) stolen.
4. Neither of the experiments (appears/appear) to confirm
the hypothesis.
5. Acoustics (is/are) a science to which architects pay
heed when they design theater halls.
6. Three hours (is/are) a long time to wait in line.
32
Mechanics: Subject-Verb Agreement Exercise
1. Each of the reports (contains/contain) useful
information.
2. Neither the Smith twins nor Samantha (was/were)
informed of the changes made in the club bylaws.
3. Her purse, along with her checkbook and all her credit
cards (was/were) stolen.
4. Neither of the experiments (appears/appear) to confirm
the hypothesis.
5. Acoustics (is/are) a science to which architects pay
heed when they design theater halls.
6. Three hours (is/are) a long time to wait in line.
33
Mechanics: Verb Tense
> Tense shows the time in which an act, state, or condition
occurs or occurred.
> 3 major divisions of time:
» Past
» Present
» Future
> Be consistent with verb tense throughout your document.
34
Mechanics: Sentence Fragments
> A sentence fragment is an incomplete thought.
> There must be a subject and verb in every sentence.
1. The baseball went into the neighbor’s backyard. Which
is why I climbed the fence.
2. Caleb cooks delicious food. Like tortellini and tiramisu.
3. Because not reading the email from her boss made
Alice miss the meeting.
35
Mechanics: Run-on Sentences
> Run-on sentence: two or more independent clauses
joined with no punctuation or conjunction
» I went to the store yesterday I bought eggs, milk, and flour.
» Gina presented her proposal to the managers they approved it.
> Comma splice: two independent clauses joined with a
comma
» I went to the store yesterday, I bought eggs, milk, and flour.
» Gina presented her proposal to the managers, they approved it.
36
Mechanics: Run-on Sentences
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the
age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the
epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the
season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the
spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had
everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were
all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the
other way – in short, the period was so far like the present
period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its
being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative
degree of comparison only.
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
37
Mechanics: Pronouns
> Pronoun: a substitute for a noun or noun phrase
Type
Function
Singular Form
Plural Form
Subjective
Serves as subject of a I, You, He, She, It
sentence
We, You, They
Objective
Serves as object of a
verb or preposition
Me, You, Him,
Her, It
Us, You, Them
Possessive
Indicates ownership
My, Your, His,
Her, Its
Our, Your, Their
Reflexive
Names a receiver of
Myself, Yourself,
an action that is
Himself, Herself,
identical with the actor Itself
38
Ourselves,
Yourselves,
Themselves
Mechanics: Who vs. Whom
He = Who (Subjective)
Him = Whom (Objective)
>
Who/Whom wrote the letter?
»
>
For who/whom should I vote?
»
>
Should I vote for him?
We all know who/whom pulled that prank.
»
>
He wrote the letter.
Who/Whom pulled that prank? He pulled that prank.
We want to know on who/whom the prank was pulled.
»
The prank was pulled on who/whom? The prank was pulled on him.
39
Mechanics: Pronoun Exercise
1. Michael Jordan is taller than (I/me).
2. Everyone should improve (his/their) writing skills.
3. Between you and (I/me), the form of a pronoun is
important.
4. I’ll pledge my support to (whoever/whomever) promises
to protect the environment.
5. Mom, Dad, Rosie, and (me/I) made plans to attend the
chili cook-off.
6. I am going with (whoever/whomever) I wish.
7. (Who/Whom) is responsible for the mistake?
40
Mechanics: Pronoun Exercise
1. Michael Jordan is taller than (I/me).
2. Everyone should improve (his/their) writing skills.
3. Between you and (I/me), the form of a pronoun is
important.
4. I’ll pledge my support to (whoever/whomever) promises
to protect the environment.
5. Mom, Dad, Rosie, and (me/I) made plans to attend the
chili cook-off.
6. I am going with (whoever/whomever) I wish.
7. (Who/Whom) is responsible for the mistake?
41
Mechanics: Unclear Pronouns
1. Remove the desk from the carton and leave it on the
loading dock.
2. The bird landed on the wire and it fell.
3. From his table, Gary saw Steve walk into the pizza
shop. Bill was carrying his pizza to the table. Soon, he
was sharing his pizza.
42
Mechanics: Modifiers
> Modifier: a word or phrase that helps clarify or limit the
extent of the meaning of another word, phrase, or clause
» Adjectives (modify nouns and pronouns)
» Adverbs (modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs)
> Dangling modifier: a misplaced modifier, attaching itself
to a word other than the word to which it was meant to be
attached
“One morning, I shot an elephant in my
pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I
don’t know.”
-Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers
43
Mechanics: Modifier Exercise
1. Walking down Main Street, the trees were beautiful.
2. The sheriff heard that the prisoner had escaped from
the messenger.
3. Dr. Stillwell will discuss methods of growing giant firs in
the Carson Building conference room.
4. I saw the car peeking through a window.
5. I was told that the copier was broken by Joey.
6. She is picking up the materials for the other instructor
we had sent.
44
Mechanics: Parallel Structures
> Parallel structure: the balance of two or more similar
words, phrases, or clauses
> Correlative conjunction: a paired conjunction that links
balanced words, phrases, and clauses
» Both…and
» Either…or
» Just as…so
» Neither…nor
» Not only…but also
» Whether…or
45
Mechanics: Parallel Structures Activity 1
1. Sue likes cooking, jogging, and to read.
2. Please complete this form, sign it, and then it should be
sent to me.
3. Patsy not only wrote the proposal but also to present it
to the board.
4. Peyton both conducted research and will write the
report.
5. Our goals are to:
» Write powerful documents.
» Edit more thoroughly.
» Thinking from the reader’s perspective.
46
Mechanics: Parallel Structures Activity 2
1. Phone, email
2. VP of Operations, CEO
3. Analyze, survey
4. Execute, deploy
5. Collaborate, resolve
47
Mechanics: Tone
> Tone: the writer’s implied attitude toward the subject or
toward the audience
> Using an appropriate tone will result in:
» A positive reader response
» No unintentionally offensive language
> Appropriate tone reflects your attitude toward the subject
and audience by considering the level of:
» Formality: Who will read this?
» Urgency: How urgent is this message?
» Objectivity: How objective do I need to be?
48
Mechanics: Tone Activity 1
1. Review Ashley’s impressive resume and let me know
your thoughts.
2. It would behoove all employees to refrain from making
personal calls during work.
3. Please send this document out today if you can.
4. Write a report discussing your research and turn it in to
me next week.
49
Mechanics: Tone
> Confident
> Positive
» Use: Will, Can
» Use: can, benefit
» Avoid: I think, if you agree
» Avoid: cannot, unable to
> Conversational
> Courteous
» Use: everyday vocabulary,
contractions
» Use: please, thank you
» Avoid: rude language,
pointing blame
» Avoid: corporate jargon,
formal vocabulary
50
Mechanics: Tone Activity 2
1. Although our team is small, it can easily handle your
request.
2. I apologize profusely for the unintentional deviation from
the project’s expected completion date.
3. You failed to pay your bill on time.
4. Had you read the item description, you would have
selected something else.
51
Mechanics: Voice
> Voice: used to describe whether the subject of the
sentence is acting or receiving the action expressed by
the verb
> Verbs take three forms:
» Active: the subject does the acting
• Shakespeare wrote Hamlet.
» Passive: the subject receives the action
• Hamlet was written by Shakespeare.
» Inert: the subject does not act or receive the action
• Shakespeare was a playwright.
52
Mechanics: Why Does Voice Matter?
> Active voice:
» Clearly identifies the actor
» Simplifies sentences
> Passive voice:
» Delays, hides, or erases the action
» Requires more words
» Suggests passivity, hesitancy, or a lack of clarity
53
Mechanics: Passive vs. Active Voice
The ball was thrown.
She threw the ball.
Rocks are hauled away.
Trucks haul rocks away.
Two goals were scored.
Jay scored two goals.
54
Mechanics: Recognizing Passive Voice
Does the sentence
contain a “to be” verb?
Yes
Is the verb following
the “to be” verb in the
past tense?
Yes
Does (or can) “by”
appear after the
combined verbs?
Yes
The sentence is passive.
55
Mechanics: Active, Passive, or Inert?
1. We were surprised by the ease of the work.
2. Nothing has been promised.
3. The race was too close to call.
4. New rules will be published by the commission.
5. Run to the bakery and pick up a pie.
6. Tito was the dog in the commercial.
7. The committee will grant final approval of the project.
8. The report was written yesterday.
56
Mechanics: Making Passive Sentences Active
1. Place the “actor” in front of the “action”.
2. Eliminate the “to be” verb.
The wall was damaged by the earthquake.
The earthquake damaged the wall.
57
Mechanics: Making Active Sentences Exercise
1. We were surprised by the ease of the work.
2. Nothing has been promised.
3. The race was too close to call.
4. New rules will be published by the commission.
5. Run to the bakery and pick up a pie.
6. Tito was the dog in the commercial.
7. The committee will grant final approval of the project.
8. The report was written yesterday.
58
Reduce Wordiness
> Use the SURE Test.
> Remove words that do not add meaning.
> Choose strong verbs.
> Vary sentence length.
> Write with a human touch.
Use familiar, precise language
59
Wordiness: Short Words vs. Long Words
> Use short words to increase readability and efficiency.
> Long words are preferable when they are:
» Simple, familiar
» Unique
» Rich, precise
» Economical, efficient
“I never write ‘metropolis’ for seven cents
because I can get the same price for ‘city’.
I never write ‘policeman’ because I can get
the same money for ‘cop’.”
-Mark Twain
60
Wordiness: Redundant Words
> Remove words that do not add meaning
> Every now and then I sometimes work overtime.
> I estimate the project will be complete in approximately 5
weeks.
> This upward trend should continue in the future.
> I typed the email on the computer yesterday.
61
Wordiness: Specific vs. General Verbs
SEE
WALK
Observe
Perform
Perceive
Carry Out
DO
Notice
Complete
Spot
Achieve
Stumble
Phone
Amble
Write
Tromp
CONTACT
Limp
Meet
Call
62
Wordiness: Specific vs. General Verbs
> Specific verbs:
» Energize descriptions
» Engage readers
» Economize writing
Jerry made the name tags for the meeting.
Jerry designed the name tags for the meeting.
63
Wordiness: Smothered Verbs
> Smothered verb: a verb turned into a noun
> Examples:
» Make an assessment vs. Assess
» Give authorization vs. Authorize
» Give a quotation vs. Quote
> Avoiding smothered verbs:
» Saves words
» Provides strength
» Focuses on action
64
Wordiness: Smothered Verbs Exercise
1. My expectation is that the board will provide approval of
the contract by Thursday.
2. Mark will make a choice on who to staff on the project.
3. My manager asked me to hold a discussion with the
client about the project timeline.
4. The client asked us to perform a review of their
inventory process and make a recommendation.
5. Granger gave his recommendation that we begin the
presentation at noon.
6. Susan is going to conduct a survey with the
shareholders.
65
Wordiness: Sentence Length
> Readers need variety in sentence length to stay
engaged.
> Use one idea per sentence.
> Mix different sentence lengths.
» Example: 12 words, 20 words, 4 words
> Short sentences are OK.
66
Wordiness: Sentence Length
> The association is very active in establishing professional
evaluation programs. Their activity in this regard is a
very positive thing. That responsibility is one which must
be accepted by someone.
» 10 words, 10 words, 10 words
> The association is very active in setting up evaluation
programs for the profession. That’s good. Someone
needs to do it.
» 13 words, 2 words, 5 words
67
Wordiness: Human Touch
> Readers usually respond well to writing that sounds
natural.
A sizable oncorhynchus mykiss elevated itself above the
reservoir’s placid façade several meters beyond the
diminutive vessel’s starboard flank.
Close beside the boat, a big trout broke the surface of the
water.
68
Utilize Appropriate Tools
> Motor to Weight Ratio
> Fog Index
> Microsoft Word Writing Style Options
69
Tools: Motor to Weight Ratio
M:W
ACTION VERBS : TOTAL WORDS
The new manager-mentor program lasts six months.
1:8
The program is based on the premise that students need
practice and opportunities to practice in safe
environments.
2:18
70
Tools: Fog Index
> Fog Index:
» Allows us to assess readability
» Was created in 1968 by Robert Gunning, an English professor at
Oxford University
» Is a number that ties to the complexity of a reading level (grades
6-17)
> Words and grammatical structures determine language
complexity.
> A complex topic does not require complex writing.
71
Tools: Fog Index
A mathematician’s definition of the Euclidean Continuum:
Such a surface may be designated a continuum that
exhibits the property of enabling continuity of movement
from any position thereon to any other position through
undertaking a repetitive process of numerous uninterrupted
migrations from one point to any other point that is in
immediate juxtaposition to it.
72
Tools: Fog Index
Albert Einstein’s definition of the Euclidean Continuum:
I can get from any point on a marble table to any other
point by passing continuously from one point to a
neighboring one and repeating the process a large number
of times. In other words, by going from point to point
without executing jumps. We express this property of the
surface by describing the latter as a continuum.
73
Tools: Fog Index
INDEX ZONE
FOG
INDEX
READING LEVEL BY GRADE
READING LEVEL BY
MAGAZINE
Danger Zone
17
College Graduate
16
College Senior
(No popular magazines are in
this zone, difficult to read.)
15
College Junior
14
College Sophomore
13
College Freshman
12
High School Senior
Atlantic Monthly
11
High School Junior
Harper’s
10
High School Sophomore
Time
9
High School Freshman
Reader’s Digest
8
Eighth Grade
Ladies’ Home Journal
7
Seventh Grade
True Confessions
6
Sixth Grade
Comics
Safe Zone
Easy Zone
74
Tools: Fog Index
AUTHOR / PUBLICATION
F.I.
POE
12
WALL STREET JOURNAL
12
FAULKNER
12
NEW YORK TIMES
11
NEWSWEEK
11
TIME
10
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
9
HEMINGWAY
9
SHAKESPEARE
6
75
Tools: Fog Index
(Total words / Total sentences)
54 / 1 = 54
+ (Long words / Total words * 100)
+ 10 / 54 * 100 = 18.5
Total
72.5
x 0.4
x 0.4
Fog Index
29
Gopher Gas Storage Company (GGSC), whose purpose is to own and
operate high deliverability, multi-cycle natural gas storage facilities in
strategic areas across the United States has determined that, due to
increasing business demands, it requires a new back office system
that will scale effectively to meet the company’s current and
anticipated growth plans.
76
Tools: Fog Index
(Total words / Total sentences)
37 / 2 = 18.5
+ (Long words / Total words * 100)
+ 3 / 37 * 100 = 8.1
Total
26.6
x 0.4
x 0.4
Fog Index
10.6
Gopher Gas Storage Company (GGSC), whose purpose is to owns
and operates high deliverability, multi-cycle natural gas storage
facilities depots in strategic areas across the United States. has
determined that, Due to increasing business demands, it GGSC
requires needs a new back office system that will scale effectively to
meet the company’s current and anticipated growth plans.
77
Tools: Fog Index
> If you cannot avoid high fog:
» Use a short sample
» Motivate the reader
» Use an interesting style
» Catch a fresh reader
78
Tools: Microsoft Word Writing Style Options
> Tools > Options > Spelling & Grammar
79
Tools: Microsoft Word Writing Style Options
> Run Spelling & Grammar Check
80
Exercise 12: Measure Readability
> Writing Topics:
» A project deliverable you created
» An email to your client requesting feedback on your project
> 150-200 words, or approx. half a typed page
81
> EMAIL
> PRESENTATIONS
> DATA PRESENTATION
COMMUNICATE
EFFECTIVLEY
82
Choosing the Program
> Message: What information must be conveyed?
> Audience: Who is your audience?
> Purpose: What is the purpose of the communication?
83
Choosing the Program
Benefits
Limitations
Word
Excel
PowerPoint
Can contain high levels of
description and detail
Easy to sort and organize lists
of information
Easily understood and passed
to beyond immediate time and
audiences
Ability to group items by
categories, filter information,
and make calculations
Good at displaying
visual information and
supporting ideas during
meetings
Tables and graphics can be
difficult to incorporate and work
with
Cells have a size limit making it
difficult to document detail
Updating and maintaining
currency is most time
consuming
Best Uses
Documentation, Disseminating
large amounts of information,
Information you want to live
beyond the immediate
audience
Formatting for printing and
adding to documentation is
difficult
Large lists that require
categorizing or filtering to
digest
Low-resolution and low
level of detail can make
meaning difficult to
discern
High level summaries
Displaying visual
information
Choose the program based on the purpose of the message and
the level of detail needed.
> EMAIL
> PRESENTATIONS
> DATA PRESENTATION
COMMUNICATE
EFFECTIVLEY
85
Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Email
1. Thinking email is good for everything
2. Not writing email from the reader’s perspective
3. Forgetting about the importance of etiquette
4. CCing the world
5. Believing that an erased email is gone forever
6. Viewing instant messages as less ‘formal’ than email
7. Assuming people have time to read your entire message
8. Mismatching the sender’s tone
9. Lack of a clear request
10. Not re-reading before you hit ‘send’
By Karen Leland and Keith Bailey
http://www.quality-service.com/training/write_email.html
86
> EMAIL
> PRESENTATIONS
> DATA PRESENTATION
COMMUNICATE
EFFECTIVLEY
87
PowerPoint Presentations
> Purpose of PowerPoint: to display visual information and
present data
> 2 elements of a PowerPoint presentation:
» Graphics and data
» Text to support the idea and graphic
88
Top 10 Tips for PowerPoint
1.
The audience’s eye will be drawn to one thing when they see the slide. Make sure
it’s the most important.
2.
Make sure everything is digestible in 20 seconds.
3.
PowerPoint is a tool for displaying visual information but is terrible for written
documentation.
4.
Consider making your presentations and deliverables a mix of PowerPoint and
Word.
5.
Have take-aways that reinforce the idea and aren’t in a PowerPoint format. Ex: tip
sheets as a class supplement
6.
Use at least 18-24 size font and a Sans Serif font.
7.
Use consistency in color schemes, punctuation, graphics, and nomenclature.
8.
Avoid vague quantitative words, such as “very”, that leave the meaning up to the
audience.
9.
If a concept can be said with a picture, it will be better conveyed. However, don’t
use graphics to decorate a few numbers.
10. Do not use this slide as an example of good design. It’s an example of what not to
do.
89
Text Use in PowerPoint
> Keep phrasing clear, simple, and short.
> Follow the 6x8 rule.
> Limit text to 5 bullets at most.
> Limit text to two outline levels.
> Use parallel phrasing in bulleted lists.
90
> EMAIL
> PRESENTATIONS
> DATA PRESENTATION
COMMUNICATE
EFFECTIVLEY
91
Tufte’s 8 Principles of Data Presentation
1. Show comparisons.
2. Show causality.
3. Show multi-variate data.
4. Integrate word, number, and image (i.e. show all evidence on
diagram).
5. Document everything and tell everyone about it. Clearly state
sources for data.
6. Presentations stand or fall based on quality, relevance, and
integrity of content. What is your message?
7. Show information as long as you can adjacent in space vs. stacked
in time.
8. Use small multiples. Show all the data; do not cherry pick.
Showing all data helps gain credibility with the audience.
http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/
92
Tufte’s 8 Principles of Data Presentation
1. Show comparisons.
> # of soldiers at the beginning of the march vs. the end
2. Show causality.
> View the temperature
scale.
3. Show multi-variate
data.
> This diagram shows 6
dimensions: the size
of the army,
lat/longitude,
temperature, dates,
directions.
93
Tufte’s 8 Principles of Data Presentation
4. Integrate word, number, and image (i.e. show all evidence on
diagram).
> Put labels in line and next to image.
> Do not use legends/keys that require “back and forths”.
Exhibit A. Improper use of labels
Exhibit B. Proper use of labels
94
Tufte’s 8 Principles of Data Presentation
5. Document everything and tell everyone about it.
Clearly state sources for data.
6. Presentations stand or fall based on quality, relevance,
and integrity of content.
> What is your message? What can you show to best support the
thinking required to accept this message?
> Ex: the message in the Napoleon poster is an anti-war
message. All the content supports the case against war.
7. Show information as long as you can adjacent in space
vs. stacked in time.
95
Tufte’s 8 Principles of Data Presentation
8. Use small multiples. Show all the data; do not cherry
pick. Showing all data helps gain credibility with the
audience.
Graphic B: This graphic displays data in context
and reveals a very different message.
Graphic A: This graphic displays data out of context
and leaves most important questions unanswered.
96
Tufteism
> Look for good examples in everyday lists of data
presentation and use them.
London Underground Map
Financial Services
97
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CORE.103 Lecture Deck - Leeds School of Business